Intrabodies binding the proline-rich domains of mutant huntingtin increase its turnover and reduce neurotoxicity.


Journal Article

Although expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) repeats are inherently toxic, causing at least nine neurodegenerative diseases, the protein context determines which neurons are affected. The polyQ expansion that causes Huntington's disease (HD) is in the first exon (HDx-1) of huntingtin (Htt). However, other parts of the protein, including the 17 N-terminal amino acids and two proline (polyP) repeat domains, regulate the toxicity of mutant Htt. The role of the P-rich domain that is flanked by the polyP domains has not been explored. Using highly specific intracellular antibodies (intrabodies), we tested various epitopes for their roles in HDx-1 toxicity, aggregation, localization, and turnover. Three domains in the P-rich region (PRR) of HDx-1 are defined by intrabodies: MW7 binds the two polyP domains, and Happ1 and Happ3, two new intrabodies, bind the unique, P-rich epitope located between the two polyP epitopes. We find that the PRR-binding intrabodies, as well as V(L)12.3, which binds the N-terminal 17 aa, decrease the toxicity and aggregation of HDx-1, but they do so by different mechanisms. The PRR-binding intrabodies have no effect on Htt localization, but they cause a significant increase in the turnover rate of mutant Htt, which V(L)12.3 does not change. In contrast, expression of V(L)12.3 increases nuclear Htt. We propose that the PRR of mutant Htt regulates its stability, and that compromising this pathogenic epitope by intrabody binding represents a novel therapeutic strategy for treating HD. We also note that intrabody binding represents a powerful tool for determining the function of protein epitopes in living cells.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Southwell, AL; Khoshnan, A; Dunn, DE; Bugg, CW; Lo, DC; Patterson, PH

Published Date

  • September 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 36

Start / End Page

  • 9013 - 9020

PubMed ID

  • 18768695

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18768695

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-2401

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0270-6474

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1523/jneurosci.2747-08.2008


  • eng